SINGAPORE - In its largest haul of contraband cigarettes in 2019 so far, Singapore Customs seized more than 9,000 cartons on Tuesday (May 7).
The agency said in a statement on Friday that it conducted two related operations in Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 2 and Defu Lane 10. A Bukit Batok flat was also searched.
A total of 9,089 cartons and 18 packets of contraband cigarettes were seized, and three Chinese nationals aged between 31 and 36 were arrested.
The total duty evaded was $870,010 while the goods and services tax evaded was $63,660.
Officers from Singapore Customs conducted a check on a Singapore-registered truck in Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 2 on Tuesday evening, and found 3,011 cartons and 10 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes in the truck.
The driver and another man who was in the passenger seat were arrested.
At the same time, a team of officers at Defu Lane 10 searched another Singapore-registered truck parked there.
They uncovered 6,076 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes and another man was arrested.
Two cartons and eight packets of contraband cigarettes were also found during a search of a Housing Board flat in Bukit Batok West Avenue 6 that has been linked to one of the men.
Investigations revealed that the contraband seized from the truck in Ang Mo Kio had been transferred from the truck parked in Defu Lane.
The three men had been engaged via WeChat to load and deliver the duty-unpaid cigarettes, said Singapore Customs.
About $3,300 in cash, suspected to be proceeds from the sale of duty-unpaid cigarettes, as well as the two trucks were also seized.
Court proceedings against the three men are ongoing, added the agency.
Offenders can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded, or jailed for up to six years, or both, said Singapore Customs.
Vehicles used while committing such offences may also be confiscated.